CHICAGO (CBS) — An elderly man was killed in a carjacking attempt Wednesday afternoon in Hyde Park, just a few blocks from the University of Chicago campus.
Police said around 12:40 p.m., officers responded to a call of a robbery near 53rd Street and Kimbark Avenue.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Winter Weather Advisory Remains In Parts Of Illinois And Indiana; Lake Effect Snow Lingers
The attack happened about three blocks northeast of the University of Chicago campus.
As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported, relatives identified the victim as 73-year-old Vietnam veteran Keith Cooper.
Witnesses told police two carjackers tried to take Cooper’s vehicle, and punched him in the head, according to UCPD. Cooper was taken to University of Chicago Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, according to police and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.
Cooper’s daughter, Keinika Carlton, said her father was out running errands at Hyde Park Produce at the busy Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center when he was attacked.
His car was parked in front of the Leona’s pizzeria in the shopping center, with his license plate holder that proudly showed off his military service.
“Vietnam veteran, Marine – served this country,” said Cooper’s son-inn-law, Curtis Carlton.READ MORE: Upcoming Report From Northwestern Medicine Gives Clues About How Long COVID-19 Symptoms Can Linger
Keinika Carlton described her father as a man who loved jazz music, sports, science fiction, and scary movies.
“It’s ridiculous. It doesn’t make any sense. It’s like, you know, if you need a car, there’s ways to get a car,” Carlton said. “That’s not the way – to harm an old man, somebody’s dad.”
Cooper drove his black Hyundai for Uber and Lyft, but his family said they don’t believe he was driving for either rideshare service at the time of the carjacking.
“I know you’re going to eventually lose a parent. I would rather him went in his sleep, or something like that, but not like this. This was selfish. This is painful,” Keinika Carlton said.
“You didn’t even get his car. You took his life,” Curtis Carlton added. “It was two guys preying on a senior citizen.”
The carjackers fled north on Kimbark Avenue, but were arrested a short time later a few blocks away after witnesses helped identify them to police.
Cooper’s family said they appreciate those witnesses for their efforts.
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Late Wednesday, the official cause of Cooper’s death had not been determined. But his family says he does have a history of heart problems and fear he may have died from heart complications.